Specialist Desk Editor, World Desk, London
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May 22, 2015

Germany, France usher Greece back to negotiating table

RIGA (Reuters) – European leaders told Greece on Friday to return to the negotiating table for “intensive work” to wrap up a reform agreement before cash runs out, sidestepping Athens’ demand for a comprehensive, long-term solution to its troubles.

With his country risking default in as little as two weeks, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras flew to Riga to press German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande for a political push to break the impasse in technical-level talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors.

May 22, 2015

Factbox: Britain’s EU demands, and how they might be handled

RIGA (Reuters) – David Cameron met his EU counterparts on Friday for the first time since his re-election two weeks ago ensured that Britain will have a referendum in the next couple of years on quitting the bloc.

At an EU summit in Riga, Cameron repeated his intention to seek reforms in the Union before giving British voters a choice. [ID:nL5N0YD12D] Fellow leaders say they are willing to cooperate. Looking at Cameron’s election manifesto demands, here is how they might try to accommodate Cameron’s requirements:

May 21, 2015

EU defies Russian “bully” but disappoints ex-Soviets

RIGA, May 21 (Reuters) – European Union leaders met six
ex-Soviet neighbours on Thursday in Riga, rejecting Russian
“bullying” in the 18 months since their last summit in a once
Kremlin-ruled EU capital sparked conflict in Ukraine.

“The European Union stays the course despite the
intimidation, the aggression, even the war, of the last year,”
said summit chair Donald Tusk. He dismissed Moscow’s fear the EU
was wooing away its former vassals but accused it of “bullying”
them to make up for Russia’s lack of attractions as an ally.

May 21, 2015

Wary EU hosts hopeful ex-Soviets, under Russian glare

RIGA (Reuters) – European Union leaders began a tense summit in Latvia on Thursday with ex-Soviet neighbors that was overshadowed by the continuing confrontation with Russia triggered by the last such event 18 months ago.

Disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine, and over the EU’s reluctance to hold out membership prospects to the six states in its “Eastern Partnership”, has marked the preparations.

May 20, 2015

EU faces awkward meeting with ex-Soviet ‘partners’

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders begin a tense summit on Thursday with ex-Soviet neighbours that will be overshadowed by the continuing confrontation with Russia triggered by the last such event 18 months ago.

Disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine, and over the EU’s reluctance to hold out membership prospects to the six states in its “Eastern Partnership”, have held up drafting of a joint communique to be issued in Riga on Friday, diplomats said.

May 19, 2015

EU plan for leaner lawmaking praised by British business

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union executive agreed a plan on Tuesday to streamline how EU law is made and make the process more transparent, in a bid to defuse growing hostility from voters and complaints from business about red tape.

Among employers groups welcoming the “Better Regulation” proposal was the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) which said EU reforms strengthened its case for Britain not to quit the bloc.

May 18, 2015

EU to present plan for leaner lawmaking

BRUSSELS, May 18 (Reuters) – The European Union executive
will present proposals on Tuesday to streamline how EU law is
made, in a bid to defuse growing hostility from voters and
complaints from business about regulatory red tape.

A draft seen by Reuters of a plan from European Commission
deputy head Frans Timmermans suggests making the European
Parliament and member states carry out more cost-benefit
analysis of amendments they want to make to the executive’s
legislative proposals.

May 18, 2015

Russia, Ukraine, EU say trade deal talks were ‘constructive’

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia avoided further diplomatic confrontation with Ukraine and the European Union at three-way trade talks on Monday and did not renew previous demands for Kiev’s duty-free deal with the bloc to be put on hold.

Echoing comments from EU and Ukrainian officials, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters in Brussels that he had not raised the issue of postponing implementation of the EU-Ukraine free trade pact from its Jan. 1, 2016 start date.

May 18, 2015

EU agrees Mediterranean naval mission to tackle people smugglers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to set up a naval mission in the Mediterranean to target gangs smuggling people from lawless Libya to Europe.

The EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said the decision taken at a meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Brussels would “disrupt the business model of smugglers and traffickers networks in Mediterranean”.

May 13, 2015

EU plans migrant quotas, Britain opts out

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The EU announced a plan on Wednesday to distribute asylum-seekers more fairly around its member states and take in 20,000 more refugees, but Britain’s newly re-elected Conservative leaders rejected any quota system imposed from Brussels.

Shocked by thousands of deaths among people trying to reach Europe from North Africa across the Mediterranean, the European Union is trying to put in place a fairer way to resettle asylum-seekers at a time when anti-immigration parties are on the rise.

    • About Alastair

      "Editor for political and general news across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 21 years with Reuters, have reported widely on conflict, elections, society, economics, culture and sport from postings in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, London, Baghdad and Jerusalem."
      Joined Reuters:
      1990
      Languages:
      English, French, Russian, German, Italian
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